• Cycling

Armstrong calls for doping ban parity

ESPN staff
November 11, 2013 « Welbeck and Carrick withdraw from England squad | Chartbeat test »
Armstrong calls for parity

Lance Armstrong insists he is ready to provide the International Cycling Union with a complete and honest assessment of his doping history - but only if his punishment is equivalent to those handed to other dopers.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and handed a lifetime ban from all sports monitored by the World Anti-Doping Agency after USADA charged him and his associates on the United States Postal team for conducting "the most sophisticated doping programme professional sport has ever seen" a year ago.

Since then, Armstrong's empire has crumbled. Key sponsors Nike, Trek and Oakley soon severed ties with the American and he stepped down from the board of his own cancer charity Livestrong.

"It's been tough," Armstrong told the BBC radio show Newshour. "It's been real tough. I've paid a high price in terms of my standing within the sport, my reputation, certainly financially because the lawsuits have continued to pile up.

"I have experienced massive personal loss, massive loss of wealth while others have truly capitalised on this story."

Armstrong believes his punishment is disproportionate relative to fellow dopers of the era who, in his eyes, have been given "a total free pass" for testifying about the doping culture in the sport, while he has received "the death penalty".

While he insists he is ready to testify to the UCI about his own doping past, he wants assurances from new president Brian Cookson that he will receive equivalent treatment in any forthcoming truth and reconciliation process - even if he has his doubts over the good it will do for cycling.

"If everyone gets the death penalty, then I'll take the death penalty," he said. "If everyone gets a free pass, I'm happy to take a free pass. If everyone gets six months, then I'll take my six months.

"Do I think that this process has been good for cycling? No. I don't think our sport has been served well by going back 15 years.

"I don't think that any sport, or any political scenario, is well served going back 15 years.

"And if you go back 15 years, you might as well go back 30."

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